You use data to make informed decisions in your everyday life, from what clothes to wear on an unpredictable April morning to when you should fill your tank with gas. And it’s no different in the business world.
Successful businesses use data to make informed decisions, from product launches to marketing campaigns. It’s equally important when it comes to your website.
Customers and prospects can access you 24/7/365, so ask yourself: How are they finding you? Where do they spend most of their time? Do they abruptly leave, and if so, from what page and for what reason? Do you even know?
Fortunately, all of this data and more is available at your fingertips with Google Analytics. You can track, measure, and analyze your web presence with a free and amazingly robust tool.
Let’s look at a few simple ways to get started.
1. Audience Locations
Do you know where your site visitors are geographically located? It’s easy to gather this information by looking at ‘Audience’ > ‘Geo’ > ‘Location’. You could potentially uncover a market opportunity in another country or identify an influx of visitors (prospects) in an understaffed region.
2. Analyze Visitor Activity
Sure, Google Analytics can tell you how many visitors have stopped by to view your website over a specified duration of time…but there are many more telling metrics than that.
Where do users first enter your website from? You would think from your homepage, but is that really the case? You can find out by analyzing Entrance data (accessible from ‘Behavior’> ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Page’).
You may uncover that users are first entering your website through a product page, blog post, or video. It’s critical to ensure these pages offer easy navigation to other parts of your website and include clear call to actions.
(Editors note: we recently discussed the benefits of blogging, and it’s clearly illustrated here. The more your company blogs, the more doors or ‘entrances’ that exist on the web for users to access your site.)
Are users finding what they want on your site? There are a few indicators to help you determine this. First, look at the Bounce Rate (‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’), which measures the number of users who landed on a certain page and left without visiting any other pages. Obviously, you want this number to be as low as possible.
It’s also a good habit to look at Bounce Pages (found from ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘Exit Pages’), which shows you which pages users are abandoning your website from. Equipped with this information, you can begin to look at these pages to determine if any common themes emerge.
Is your content resonating with users? Does the experience encourage them to stay? Try looking at the Average Time Spent on Page and Pages per Session (both found in Behavior’> ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Page’). This will give you a sense for how engaged users are once they land on a particular page.
3. Technical Insight
Should you invest time and resources towards making your site mobile-friendly or compatible with older web browsers?
These are difficult questions to answer without having supporting data to help paint a more complete picture.
Make intelligent decisions by using analytics. Gather information on the type of browsers and version numbers being used by your site visitors (‘Audience’ > ‘Technology’ > ‘Browser & OS’), determine if users access your site via desktop device, mobile or tablet (‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Overview’) and see what types of mobile devices they are using (‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Devices’). You can even see how quickly your site loads for visitors across geographies and browser types (‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Speed’ > ‘Overview’).
4. Audience Acquisition
When crafting your web marketing strategy, how do you determine where to allocate resources? What mix of content marketing, online advertising, social media and email campaigns should you be investing marketing dollars on?
It’s easy to gain insight on what is driving users to your website so you can tailor your online marketing strategies around specific strengths or opportunities.
Are your site visitors most commonly acquired through organic search, referrals from other websites, email campaigns or social media channels? Find out by looking at ‘Acquisition > ‘Channels’.
What amount of traffic does Google organic search generate for your website compared to LinkedIn, and which channel sends the most engaged (aka valuable) users? This information goes a long way in helping you make intelligent decisions when determining where to invest your marketing dollars, and can be found by looking at ‘Acquisition’ > ‘All Traffic’.